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Departures, 2018 election may reshape county government

Published: Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ 8:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 5:06 PM
By: Chris Stewart, Lynn Hulsey - Staff Writer

Two longtime elected officials announced in 2017 they would leave their Montgomery County posts, and another may depart if he wins election to the statehouse.

The decisions will shape county government, law enforcement and how the courts are administered in coming years.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley

Dan Foley, a Democrat, announced in October he would not run for re-election in 2018.

RELATED: Dan Foley won’t run again for Montgomery County commission

In elected positions for 17 years, Foley said he will serve out his term that ends Dec.  31 and work on several projects, including helping close a projected $9 million budget hole due to expiration of the Medicaid managed care sales tax.

“I’m grateful personally and professionally for the trust that voters have placed in me, both as a commissioner and prior to that as clerk of courts,” Foley said. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done as a commissioner and with my colleagues in the county.”

Foley became a commissioner in January 2007. He was appointed clerk of courts in 2000 and later won election, serving until he became a commissioner.

As one of three Democrats on the commission, his decision to leave could give the Republican Party a chance to regain a seat for the first time in a decade. Foley narrowly won re-election his last two campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer

Sheriff Phil Plummer announced he will be running for the 40th Ohio House seat now held by term-limited state Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, but plans to remain sheriff through the 2018 campaign.

But if he wins, the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee would select his successor to fill the sheriff’s term through 2020.

MORE: Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer to run for Ohio House

Plummer has been sheriff since appointed to take over for former Sheriff Dave Vore, who retired in July 2008. He was elected that November and has served ever since.

He began his career as a corrections officer in the jail 30 years ago and rose through the ranks to become Vore’s chief deputy.

“I love my job. I have the best job in the world,” Plummer said. “(But) after 30 years, it can take a toll on you.”

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger introduced and endorsed Plummer during the announcement, saying the sheriff’s experience gives him valuable insight on the opioid crisis, one of the state’s biggest issues. But Plummer, who as sheriff runs the county jail, also faced multiple lawsuits over allegations of mistreatment of prisoners, some still pending.

County spending on jail lawsuits tops $1M

Greg Brush, former Montgomery County Clerk of Courts

Greg Brush, a Democrat, made his announcement that he would be leaving as clerk of courts the same day as Foley, whose job he assumed when Foley was sworn in as a county commissioner.

Brush retired after 34 years in public service positions in Montgomery County to become chief administrator for the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in Cincinnati.

He served as Butler Twp. fiscal officer for seven years and 20 years as a Vandalia police officer. He also taught at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center.

MORE: Democrats name new Montgomery County clerk of courts

Brush made technological improvements to the clerk of courts online public records website, instituted e-filing of court documents, added an RSS feature allowing people to electronically follow cases and revamped the clerk website.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the clerk’s office. I value that citizens put me back here three times,” said Brush, 54. “It’s been a great experience. It’s a great staff. It’s a great community to work in.”

County Democrats selected Russ Joseph to fill Brush’s term through 2020.

RELATED: Retired Montgomery County clerk of courts takes Hamilton County job